Well, after I sent out the update last night, our autopilot unit failed. The unit on the masthead, which senses wind direction and speed, appears to have fallen off.

Ten minutes later…

I take that back – I thought it might have fallen into the “stack pack,” which is where the sail goes when we reef – so a bit of the mail sail is stacked there – and sure enough, we just looked, and there it was. That will be some helpful when we reach land, but it doesn’t help us now. Another little miracle, though, in terms of “things falling down and landing on the boat rather than in the water.”

We might be able to still get the autopilot to steer by compass course, if Philip can figure out how to disconnect the data wire from the unit. We are working on this, but there are no guarantees. We are basically a week from Trinidad, or a similarly properly equipped island where we can make landfall and get help for this.

What this means is we both will have to hand steer, 3 hours on and 3 hours off, for the next week. This is tough work – the wind is strong now, and the seas are high – and will remain that way. We will barely have time to eat and sleep, much less do anything else like writing emails. I will try to give you all a position every day, but that is all I can promise for the next week or so, unless and until we can get the autopilot working again. Philip and I are composing an email to the autopilot rep in the US now.

This is not life-threatening, but it won’t be easy. Your prayers are appreciated, as always, and we send our love across the miles. Of course I will update you as best I can.

Philip and Kristin